The youth have shown they have the power to change the course of history, and their courage to do so is commemorated every year. Youth Day #youthday is celebrated in 18 countries on different dates, but it always highlights the power of the youth to change the course of history.
In South Africa, Youth Day #youthday is celebrated as a public holiday on 16 June #june16 each year, commemorating the bravery and sacrifice of the more than 20,000 youth #youth from Soweto who began a protest march on 16 June 1976 that sparked the Soweto Uprisings and set a new course for our country.
The youth can not only change the course of national history, they are also the future of every issue of importance to a business: its future consumers and its future employees, its future partners, peers and competitors; and the taxpayers, leaders and captains of industry of tomorrow.
In addition, the unique attributes the youth bring to a post-COVID business environment – including fresh approaches, innovative thinking and tech savvy – and direct access to markets of the future – can add immense value in a world where agility and flexibility are requisite.
It is for this reason that PSTM Chartered Accountants – a black female owned and manged firm established twelve years ago to unlock financial success for its clients through well-defined growth drivers and quality timeous decision-making – remains committed to making available opportunities for young black aspiring professionals in the accounting and financial professions.
The firm achieves this not only through its own inhouse learnership programmes, but also by nurturing talent and transferring skills to ensure their clients benefit from the full value of young, highly-skilled financial professionals in their own business, whether through outsourcing their accounting and audit requirements or building inhouse capacity.
What young workers can bring to your business
A number of benefits of hiring young workers, highlighted by Unicef and UK Commission for Employment and Skills, are briefly summarised below.
- Fresh energy, new perspectives and innovative thinking – the enthusiasm and optimism of the youth boosts workplace morale and productivity, and their fresh perspective and different ways of thinking create new ideas.
- Access new markets – Young workers can bring important insights into markets that target young customers, or that change rapidly or are subject to fashions. They can also reach and communicate with their peers: a distinct advantage if your business targets – or wants to target – the young millennial market.
- Cost-effective – It is most often less expensive to hire a young worker than an older, more experienced one, so companies can fill entry-level positions with young people, and more experienced workers can focus on strategic issues. In addition, there are industry programmes and tax incentives that ensure employing young workers is a attractive option financially.
- Tech savvy – The youth of today grew up with technology. They have a natural affinity for it, and can apply different technologies quickly, helping a business keep up with the constant new developments and rapid innovation in an increasingly digital, automated and interconnected world.
- Flexibility – Young workers are often more flexible in terms of working hours, travelling, working in various locations, and even moving to another place. Young people are also more flexible and adaptable to change psychologically.
- Custom trained staff and workforce development – Most young workers are keen to learn, apply their skills, gain experience and move ahead. Often straight from school, college or university, they are easier to train to meet the business’ unique requirements, because they are used to learning, and unencumbered by previous experience and work habits. There are also options for cost-effective formal trainee programmes, learnerships and apprenticeships, that enable structured workforce development and succession planning.
Unlocking the value of youth
The benefits of young, enthusiastic workers are globally recognised by academics, business leaders and governments alike. The question then is how does a business unlock this value?
In their publication Preparing tomorrow’s workforce for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Deloitte suggests investing in new ideas and alternative approaches to skilling youth for the future of work, such as retraining; technical, vocational, education and training (TVET); career and technical education (CTE); as well as internships, apprenticeships and artisanships for on-the-job skills training.
“We currently offer three learnership opportunities inhouse through SAICA, SAIPA and ACCA that are ideally suited to our industry,” comments Phuthanang Motsielwa CA(SA) and director of PSTM.
“We not only provide employment, we partner with our staff and help them carve out a career. We train our people both on the job and in formal training sessions, we invest heavily to turn them into professionals, worthy of the designations they pursue, and to help them realise their dreams.”
This approach recently yielded another successful young Chartered Accountant CA(SA), as the PSTM team #teampstm congratulated Nokuthula Shongwe for passing her Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) and qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, one of just 3548 candidates to pass the exam!
It is a great accomplishment, preceded by an Initial Test of Competence (ITC), and successfully completing a 20-month SAICA registered training contract and a professional programme.
“It has been great but a challenging experience,” says Shongwe, Audit Supervisor at PSTM. “The audit clients I worked on provided new perspectives, as well as good leverage for the future. The guidance and practical experience gained at PSTM as Audit Supervisor helped me approach the APC board exam as if it was a practical workplace audit, and this contributed to my success in passing the APC.”
“Achieving my own articles had such a positive impact on my career, I was inspired to start a firm that focuses on training young professionals,” explains Tinyiko Mhlari CA(SA) and director at PSTM. “There is something special about seeing young people tap fully into their potential and transform into confident, skilled professionals who ultimately contribute to the overall productivity of the economy. And we learn as much from the youth in the process, as they do from us!”
“Investing in young people just makes sense, it is a commitment that all communities recognise and subscribe to,” adds Motsielwa. “Young people are creative, they have energy, they are still eager to challenge the status quo, they bring perspectives that even experienced leaders may not have considered. I love working with young people and seeing them blossom into confident and self-assured professionals, and all-round human beings.”
Unlocking the value of youth in your company
“We believe that skills transfer – and in particular financial skills transfer – is an important growth driver for businesses across industries, and one that we unlock for our all clients,” notes Mhlari. “This means we can provide the ideal solution for each client, ranging from fully outsourced accounting and auditing functions to providing the right skills and training for an inhouse accounting or auditing team. This symbiosis between us and our clients provides a fertile ground for nurturing young talent.”
Most businesses have place for a young, enthusiastic worker and can benefit from the affordable infusion of tech savvy and custom-trained staff; more flexibility; fresh energy, new perspectives and innovative thinking; and direct access to new markets; that comes with young workers.
If you would like to unlock skills transfer as a growth driver and benefit from the full value of young, highly-skilled financial professionals in your own business – whether through outsourcing your accounting and audit requirements or by building inhouse capacity we invite you to contact us on our website, Facebook or LinkedIn or on +27 (11) 656 0061.